Let us all take heart from the career of Savonarola. Really.

An improbably hopeful tidbit from today’s New York Times. About Savonarola. (I don’t have to bold the temporal suggestions, do I? Oh, OK, I hear you begging so…)

Maybe you thought it was just the title of a Tom Wolfe novel.
On this day in 1497, supporters of the firebrand Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola burned “indecent” cosmetics, art and books in Florence, Italy. It became the best known of many such fires, and usually gets uppercase status: the Bonfire of the Vanities.
Savonarola railed against corruption and advocated the destruction of secular art and culture. He denounced the nude paintings of the Italian Renaissance and attacked the powerful Medici family.
He briefly led Florence — one account called him its “moral dictator” — when the Medicis were temporarily ousted in 1494. He drew support from those who felt culturally and economically alienated. And he spread his message through one-page screeds, becoming one of the first purveyors of printed political propaganda.
But a few months after his major bonfire, he was excommunicated by a foe, the Borgia pope Alexander VI. The next year, he was executed: hanged and burned before a mob in the Piazza della Signoria.
The monastery that served as his home and headquarters is now the Museum of San Marco in Florence.
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